SAN JUAN- For Hidalgo County 92nd District Court Judge Luis Manuel Singleterry hosting the 2nd Courts in Schools session at PSJA Early College High School, his alma mater, was a nostalgic experience.
“Just walking in through the front doors brought back a lot of memories,” shared Judge Singleterry who graduated from PSJA High School in 1990. “It’s very rewarding to come back and speak to students right here where I graduated from.”
Judge Singleterry, along with other Hidalgo County elected officials, attorneys, and courtroom staff, hosted the court hearing on Friday, Nov. 9 as part of a new program through the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.025-Sentencing Hearing at Secondary Schools. The program allows judges to order sentence hearings hosted at high schools to provide this educational value to students. PSJA ISD is the first district in Hidalgo County to offer this academic opportunity for students.
Students present at the hearing included those interested in becoming attorneys, mock trial participants, and those who may be interested in enrolling in the district’s new Pre-Law Institute. Launched this fall, the PSJA ISD Pre-Law Institute plans to provide students interested in careers in the legal field with mentorship opportunities and insight into the law profession from practicing attorneys and judges.
As part of the hearing, students got to learn about courtroom procedures and different careers available in the criminal justice field.
For Priscilla Luevano, a sophomore at PSJA ECHS, speaking with Judge Singleterry after the hearing was an unforgettable experience.
“I really want to pursue a career in law,” said Luevano who plans to pursue an Associate in Criminal Justice. “Talking to the Judge was like a dream come true. I don’t have any family members who are lawyers, so it was great hearing advice from him and that he is a PSJA alum.”
According to Judge Singleterry, he looks forward to mentoring and advising more students at PSJA ISD as part of the program.
“I am so excited to see so many students interested in pursuing careers in the legal field,” he said. “By seeing all the PSJA alumni practicing careers in the legal or criminal justice fields we want students to know that if we can do it, they can do it.”
In addition to Singleterry, other PSJA alumni present included Hidalgo County Court-at-Law No. 5 Judge Arnoldo Cantu, Jr. and Hidalgo County Clerk Arturo Guajardo, to name a few.
Proud of returning to his alma mater, Judge Singleterry advised students to always fight for their dreams and goals.
“To all students, never stop pursuing your dreams,” said the proud alumnus. “Don’t let anyone or anything get in your way. You can accomplish anything you want in life. Go Bears!”